May 23, 2014

Friday in the Wild: May 23, 2014

This being Friday, once again it is my pleasure to present the various goodness from the Web that made me laugh, pay attention, agree heartily, or just think.

I don't agree with Douglas Wilson on the finer points of theology, but I enjoy reading his writing; he uses well-pointed sarcasm as an art medium. He makes a very good point in last Saturday's post about the whole Michael Sam gay-kiss thing, the revulsion of some at the kiss, and the revulsion of the leftist literati at the revulsion:

As to the charge that I am fighting for Christian privilege, the reply is “you bet I am.” When the Christian faith is privileged, then freedom for everyone becomes a possibility. When Christian privilege is made illegal, and its denunciation mandatory, as it has been in our time, the first thing that happens is that we see the essentially coercive nature of unbelief revealed. Unbelievers have never built a free society and they never will. They have been running this one for just a few minutes now, and they are already driving up and down the streets with their Coercion Trucks, loudspeakers blaring that it is past curfew and we are all supposed to go inside now, place our noses on the specially designated freedom wall, and think grateful thoughts about how much Uplift Congress will be able to generate next session. When we wake up in the morning, we can all have a breakfast of liberty gruel, designed by the first lady’s personal nutritionist and national sadist.

[Read The Gaylag Archipelago]

May 16, 2014

Friday in the wild: May 16, 2014

Another Friday means another great opportunity to share all sorts of goodness from the Web and blogosphere. Out there, they do FridayFollow; here, we do Friday in the Wild. This week, three articles caught my attention.

Yesterday, May 15, was the 30th anniversary of the death of my personal favourite Christian apologist, Francis A. Schaeffer. (As I write this, I have two of his books, The God Who Is There and The Church at the End of the 20th Century, on loan from the library.) I first read Schaeffer in my university years; he was the first step toward my trying to adopt a comprehensive Christian worldview. Over the years I've adopted a certain number of his frequent catchphrases, including "true truth" and "brute fact." Ray Ortlund at The Gospel Coalition expressed his gratitude for Schaeffer's ministry:

All my life I’d been exposed to conventional people using conventional methods, and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I had the privilege of knowing men of true greatness, like my dad. But Schaeffer was just different. He located the gospel within a total Christian worldview. He talked about modern art and films and books. He spoke with prophetic insight about cultural trends. He worked out fresh ways to articulate old truths, even coining new expressions like "true truth." He had a beard and long hair and dressed like a European. He had Christian radicalism all over him, called for by those radical times. I found him non-ignorable. To this day, I dislike conventionality, partly because I saw in Francis Schaeffer a man who made an impact not by conforming and fitting in but by standing out as the man God made him to be, the man the world needed him to be.

[Read Gratitude for Francis Schaeffer]

May 10, 2014

It: it's the protagonist of It

A lightning review of It by Stephen King (New York: Signet, 1987). Mass-market paperback, 1104 pp.

I have just finished reading Stephen King's It for the second time.

There's a weird feeling about it. It's not the same feeling as the first time, back when It was still on the bestseller lists. Nor is it a sense of accomplishment for making it through a monster novel—at over 1,100 pages, it's one of the longest books most people will ever read—I didn't feel the same thing when I finished Les Misérables in February, and it's longer than It by the length of another entire long novel. For some reason, it was rather like seeing off an old friend you haven't seen in years, after an all-too-brief visit. Closing the novel and putting it down compelled me to sit for about five minutes, pause, and consider. Selah.

An ancient evil lives under the town of Derry, Maine, and every 27 years It comes out of hibernation to feed on local children. It recounts two of these awakenings in parallel. In 1958, the cycle began with the murder of protagonist Bill Denborough's brother George, by a strange clown figure living in the sewer. Bill and a band of his social-outcast friends, drawn together through mutual enmity with the town's gang of bullies, all confront their own manifestations of It. They realize it is up to them to try and stop It. In 1985, the adult Bill (now a bestselling horror novelist and clearly a kind of Mary Sue for King himself) and his friends are reunited when the cycle of death starts again, and they resolve to end It's reign of terror once and for all.

It isn't my favourite of Stephen King's novels (that distinction belongs to his earlier epic The Stand), but I've often remarked that of all Stephen King's books, it's the Stephen Kingiest. It has all the trademarks of a good King yarn: ordinary people, often children or teenagers, thrust into extraordinary circumstances; a haunted town in Maine; an unspeakable horror lurking there; and antagonists who are (to varying degrees) violent, sadistic, or flat-out insane. And lots and lots of death.

Is It worth reading? Oh yes. Of course, if you're a Stephen King fan, you already have. But if you're wondering whether King is worth getting into, and you have the patience for an 1,100-page epic, then I can't think of a better introduction.

May 09, 2014

Friday in the wild: May 9, 2014

Hello! This might be a longer installment than usual, simply because I was unable to post last week, so I have about two weeks of interesting (and now, slightly stale) stuff to pass around. Which is fine with me.

First, an intriguing article from The Art of Manliness, which promotes traditional masculine virtues. It's intriguing not merely because of the subject matter—though as someone who enjoys the occasional glass of whiskey, of course I enjoyed reading about a shared interest—but because the blog owners are Mormons, who would not normally drink alcohol. It's a guest post. Obviously there's plenty of room in the tent for varying views on masculinity! (AoM featured articles on cocktails and pipe smoking as well in the past.)

In spite of its sometimes tumultuous history (see the Whiskey Rebellion), whiskey is a drink that men have enjoyed for centuries. Men like Mark Twain, Winston Churchill (often accompanied with a fine cigar), and Clark Gable imbibed regularly. When one thinks of masculine images, you often conjure up a picture of a man in a tweed coat with a glass of whiskey in his hand by the fire. If you’ve ever wanted to be that man and explore this manly tradition, you’re in luck. While we’ve given you a primer on Scotch whisky, today we’re going to broaden that and talk about whiskey as a whole—especially how to enjoy it!

[Read How to Drink Whiskey]